20/5/1921 - 15/9/2006
Hammarlund was one of the best Swedish racing drivers in the fifties, but rarely raced outside of Scandinavia. Carl-Gunnar Hammarlund died 16 years ago, he was 85
Hammarlund started racing with a home-built midget of American type in 1949. He then, like most Swedes, went into the woods and was soon one of the official Scania-team, driving VWs in realiabilty competitions - the fore-runner to the modern rally.
He was Swedish champion in '55 and '56. By then Hammarlund had started racing, again with the help of Scania, the VW-importers. Hammarlund drove Porsche, and became THE Porsche-driver in Sweden. He won the Rally to the Midnight Sun in '54 and when he got a Carrera in '56 he almost became unbeatable, it's actually easier to count the times he didn't win. He won every Swedish Championship he entered in his Porsches from 1959 to 1962. And in those years he won every championship race exept one, where he had to retire when the car broke down. He also won in Helsinki in Finland and Roskilde in Denmark, but never sought a career in Europe. He did a race at Avus in '56... and won. And one at Innsbruck in '58, where he lost the lead in the end and came second.
The calm, thin and bespectacled Hammarlund didn't look like the typical race driver, but race after race he just left the others behind with his smooth driving style and his always immaculately prepared cars. We will never know how good he really was, since he stayed in his trusty Porsche class and almost never raced against Bonnier, Carlsson, Ljungfeldt and the other big guys, with big cars. And he didn't race with his Porsches on ice.
Hammarlund did the two Swedish WC sports car races at Råbelöv: in '56 where he co-drove Allan Borgefors Ferrari 375MM to fifth place and in '57 when he shared Bonnier's Maserati together with Ljungfeldt.
Hammarlund worked as the PR man for BP in Sweden and his connections got him a F1 seat in Kanonloppet 1961, where he drove the second BRP Lotus beside his friend Moss. Unfortunately he spun off. But he won the GT race in his Porsche Carrera Abarth.
The Swedish 1962 season was turbulent with a lot of accusations and cheating. Hammarlund who always won, was of course also accused, but no one found anything wrong with his car. But "CeGe" was so fed up with all the talking that he stopped racing after that season.
Although C-G Hammarlund was one of the best of his time, very few Swedes remember him for that. What he is remembered for is the radio-show he started in 1956 and continued with for many years. It was a show for a new public, the car-drivers. It was about traffic and car-driving and became one of the most popular radio-shows in Sweden. Hammarlund worked with traffic safety all his life and was a very gentle and intelligent man, as well as a very good story-teller.
With thanks to Tomas Karlsson